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Players like revamped Wentworth

Holder Angel Cabrera led the chorus of approval on Tuesday for the changes made to the Wentworth venue for this week's BMW Championship.

Under the guidance of world number six Ernie Els, who has won a record six World Match Play crowns at the famous Surrey estate he calls home, the West Course has been remodelled to meet the demands of the modern-day golfer.

"I think the changes have been really well done and everything is good," Argentine Cabrera told reporters on Tuesday.

Asked if South African Els had succeeded in retaining the character of the course created by Harry Colt in the 1920s, Cabrera replied: "Yes, I think so.

"He just lengthened the course a little bit, he did not touch the original design."

Twelve months ago Cabrera achieved the biggest victory of his career when he won the European Tour's flagship event by two strokes from Ireland's Paul McGinley.

The 36-year-old is known for his prodigious length off the tee and he said he would be suited by the course alterations.

"With these changes, it favours the long hitters," he said. "Especially if the course is wet and soft."

Former winner Jose Maria Olazabal, refreshed after a five-week break, was also happy with the redesigned layout.

"It's wet but I have to say the changes are fair, they are good," said the 40-year-old Spaniard.

"The golf course is longer. It demands a higher level of accuracy now than before.

"We are hitting more drivers off the tee. There are a lot of bunkers well placed... and some of the holes we're hitting longer irons too," added Olazabal, who won the event in 1994 when it was known as the PGA Championship.

"Every hole is tougher now, without question."

Order of merit leader David Howell praised the work of Els, course manager Chris Kennedy and his team.

"I think the changes are good and that Ernie has done a good job in general," said the 30-year-old Briton.

"I saw the majority of the course yesterday and it obviously seems more difficult; longer, tougher, better."

Howell has a bad back and does not have high expectations for the tournament which starts on Thursday.

"To come through the week healthy would be great but once you are out there you want to do as well as you can," said the Englishman.

"I am as competitive as anybody and will be disappointed if I don't win. However, I'm not in a position to have those expectations having not played that much and not being fully fit."

 

 




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